Tonya Pinkins, David Friedman and More Serve as Guest Faculty at Broadway Theatre Project, Festival Performances Tonight


Broadway Theatre Project's 23rd season is currently taking place July 7- 28, 2013 in Tampa, Florida. Tonya Pinkins, Christopher D'Amboise, Jay Binder, David Friedman, Donna McKechnie, Elena Grinenko, Victoria Regan, Melissa Thodos and Jennifer Archibald join the ranks of Gregory Hines, Austin Pendleton, Julie Andrews, Joel Grey, and Patti LuPone, among many others as a guest faculty member at the Project.

The Broadway Theatre Project's festival performances take place at 3:00 p.m and 7:00 p.m today, July 27 at the University of South Florida. Tickets can be purchased at or

Tonya Pinkins (Tony award winning actress, vocalist and writer) is best known for her celebrated roles including Gwen in the original cast of the Stephen Sondheim / George Furth musical, MERRILY WE ROLL ALONG (Broadway Debut), JELLY'S LAST JAM (Tony Award) and CAROLINE, OR CHANGE. Television credits include AS THE WORLD TURNS, ALL MY CHILDREN, ARMY WIVES. Film credits include Disney's ENCHANTED and SHOW BUSINESS: THE ROAD TO BROADWAY.

Pinkins's day started with a Question and Answer session where the apprentices had the opportunity to learn about her vast theatre and film career. Following the Q&A, Pinkins worked with the apprentices individually in voice classes that emphasized the art of acting a song.

Christopher d'Amboise's dance credits include: New York City Ballet (principal dancer), Broadway's production of Andrew Lloyd Webber's SONG AND DANCE (Tony nomination). Christopher is also known for his work as a director and as the Artistic Director and President/CEO of The Pennsylvania Ballet.

D'Amboise taught the apprentices choreography to his original song "Burn." This piece will be featured in the 23rd annual Broadway Theatre Project festival today, July 27th at the University of South Florida.

Jay Binder, C.S.A of Binder Casting, has cast more than 50 Broadway shows. His Broadway casting credits include NICE WORK IF YOU CAN GET IT (2012), BORN YESTERDAY (2011), THE MIRACLE WORKER (2010), A CHORUS LINE (revival), CHICAGO, BEAUTY AND THE BEAST, and others. His film casting credits include DREAMGIRLS and CHICAGO. Television credits include ONCE UPON A MATRESS, THE MUSIC MAN, Warner Bros. and Sony Pictures Television. He is the Seven-time Artios Award winner.

Binder individually auditioned apprentices in voice and dance providing them with advice and insight into the NYC audition experience.

David Friedman is an acclaimed film and theatre composer, conductor, record producer, teacher, lecturer and writer. His Broadway credits include GREASE, JOSEPH & THE AMAZING TECHNICOLOR DREAMCOAT, SONG AND DANCE (conductor), BEAUTY & THE BEAST music supervisor and vocal arranger) and CHASING NICOLETTE (composer). His film credits include TRICK, ALADDIN and THE KING OF THIEVES, BEAUTY & THE BEAST, POCAHONTAS and THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME (conductor and arranger.

In his Master Class, Friedman taught the apprentices techniques from his book THE THOUGHT EXCHANGE that allowed them to differentiate thought and perception. He then worked with individual apprentices on their songs, guiding them to discover new methods to honestly convey emotion while singing.

Donna McKechnie is one of Broadway's foremost dancing and singing stars. Her Broadway credits include A CHORUS LINE (Tony award), HOW TO SUCCEED IN BUSINESS WITHOUT REALLY TRYING, A FUNNY THING HAPPENED ON THE WAY TO THE FORUM, ON THE TOWN, PROMISES, PROMISES, COMPANY and STATE FAIR (Fred Astaire Award for Best Female Dancer). Her television credits include DARK SHADOWS, FAME, CHEERS and FAMILY TIES. Film credits include THE LITTLE PRINCE, EVERY LITTLE STEP and 36 SAINTS (in production).

During her time at the Project, McKechnie answered questions about her career and gave advice to the rising performers. In her Master Classes, each apprentice performed a song and McKechnie guided them with advice to help them develop a deeper emotional connection to their performance material.

Elena Grinenko, professional National & World Ballroom dance champion, is best known as one of the professional dancers on the ABC television series DANCING WITH THE STARS. She starred as lead dancer in LATIN FUSION on Broadway, which eventually evolved into the now-popular touring show, BALLROOM WITH A TWIST. Elena owns Grinya Talent Agency.

Grinenko's day began with a Q&A session in which she shared her insight and wisdom of the professional dance industry with the apprentices. Later in the day, she worked with the apprentices in more intimate sized groups on how to master the basic techniques of Latin dance.

Victoria Regan's (Broadway dancer) Broadway credits include 42ND STREET and GRAND HOTEL. Film credits include A CHORUS LINE, ANNIE, THE OUTING and CLAIROL. Television credits include RYAN'S HOPE, ONE LIFE TO LIVE and THE GUIDING LIGHT. Her awards include United States Latin Dance Champion, North American and U.S. 10 Dance Champion, 5x Canadian Ballroom and Latin Dance Champion and a British Latin Finalist.

Regan gave advice and shared stories from her film and stage experiences. Her dance classes offered energetic introductions to four different styles of ballroom.

Melissa Thodos' (performer, choreographer and director) work includes THODOS DANCE CHICAGO'S WINTER CONCERT 2013, A LIGHT IN THE DARK and SUBTYLE PASSAGES. She currently serves on the Illinois Arts Council Dance Advisory Panel, and is a founder of The Thodos Dance Chicago.

In Thodos modern dance classes, she taught apprentices how to move fluidly while staying grounded.
Her piece, "Near Light" features ten apprentices performing difficult lifts and balances. This dance will be featured furing the festival on July 27th at the University of South Florida.

Jennifer Archibald is the founder and artistic director of Arch Dance Company in New York City. She teaches at Dance New Amsterdam, Broadway Dance Center, and CAP 21 America's Musical Theatre Conservatory. She has performed in major venues such as: John F. Kennedy Center for the Arts, Aaron Davis Hall, The Lincoln Theater, The Colony Theater, and MTV.

Archibald's contemporary dance classes catered to apprentices of all levels. She taught apprentices how to pick up choreography quickly, a much needed skill for auditions. Her contemporary piece, "Reload" features eight BTP apprentices dancing to Delta Rae's "Bottom of the River." This piece will be part of BTP's 23rd annual festival on July 27th at The University of South Florida.

Broadway Theatre Project (BTP), a nonprofit 501(c) (3) organization, is the renowned musical theatre intensive that provides its apprentices with critical training in the disciplines of acting, dancing and singing, taught by a faculty of accomplished educators and performers. As part of its mission, the program strives to engender apprentices with the personal skills necessary to work and survive in the professional world of performing arts. 2013 Artistic Directors are Debra McWaters and Darren Gibson.

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